World Test Championship: Lord's finale a pinnacle for veteran Blackcaps core - coach Gary Stead

The World Test Championship final will represent the pinnacle achievement for some of the Blackcaps long-serving stars. 

New Zealand has advanced to the climax of the inaugural red-ball competition, after Australia withdrew from their three-test tour of South Africa. 

India, England and the Aussies are all in contention to join them at Lord's, but regardless of who they play, coach Gary Stead says the match will be a special experience for the veteran Blackcaps brigade. 

"From the players’ perspective, we have a number who have been involved in the game for a long period of time and I'm absolutely sure that this will represent the pinnacle of their achievements," Stead tells the AM Show.

"I'm just so pleased for the likes of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling and Tim Southee, who have given so much to New Zealand cricket. For them to compete on this stage, I know, will be very special."

Tim Southee
Tim Southee Photo credit: Photosport
BJ Watling
BJ Watling Photo credit: Photosport

Captain Williamson will be key to New Zealand’s potential success, come the final in June. The 30-year-old batsman is in career-best form, scoring 736 runs in his last seven test innings at an average of 105.14. 

The diminutive skipper is currently ranked the world's best test batsman, and Stead says his leadership and work ethic trickles down the entire squad.

"I'm not sure I can claim too much credit for the way Kane plays. 

"He's an amazing player with a fantastic temperament, and as a leader, he leads by example and when you do that, it's easy for others to follow."

Should the Blackcaps face India or Australia in the final, they will have a distinct advantage.

New Zealand plays England in two tests in the weeks before the scheduled final, while Indian and Australian players will arrive fresh off the Indian Premier League’s T20 format. 

Stead says NZ Cricket should be praised for giving the tests the green light. 

"It's nice that NZ Cricket has got together with the ECB and put this in place. 

"We have a real host of white-ball cricket coming up between now and then - it'll quicken that process to adapt and flip between the different formats."

Gary Stead
Gary Stead Photo credit: Photosport

Last time New Zealand played an international match at Lord's, they finished on the losing side of a tied World Cup one-day final against England.

After a tied ’super over’, the Blackcaps lost on a boundary countback, a formula that caught many on both sides by surprise.

But Stead has done his homework this time.

"If it's a draw or a tie, it will be decided with joint winners."